Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Where was I....?

Ahh, yes.
Cleggy was invited to speak at a conference for 
International schools - and since it fell in the 
boys October half term we decided to keep him company.
It was on a beautiful resort - which was practically empty, 
leaving the pools feeling like our own!
 Some Sangria was drunk.
Sunsets admired.
 Blue skies appreciated.
Plenty of swimming
 Playing cards.
And trying new food (snail paella)
Apparently The Teen was there too, although he was feeling a little teenish and didn't speak much - other than to wind his brothers up.
In fact, despite the super warm temperature, he spent a great deal of time with a towel on his head:
Our Alf has grown about a foot in the past six months - and definitely moved into a whole new phase. He is either charm itself or unbelieeeevably annoying.
My favourite moment has to be (in the middle of an argument) him slow clapping me and suggesting I 'put a sticker on my good parenting chart'.

He is a master of the argument - sarcastically retorting 'ahhh, great come back Mum' and my other favourite 'Ok Mum, if that makes you feel better then you're right'.
I have to give him credit - he's brilliant at winding me up.

Another classic (in the middle of an argument) 'well you seem to get 95% of your parenting from a book, so I'll just read ahead'. 
(found myself arguing back over the!)

Saying that he can be wonderful company and great fun (when he takes the towel off his head)
My favourite funny over Christmas:
'All fur coat and no knickers as an insult?? surely that's preferable!'
(SO his fathers son)

Anyway, I digress.
Whilst in Spain I made an itchy cowl. You can't have too many cowls
When we got back from Spain(beginning of November) I don't remember what happened, but then it was Christmas!
( Feel free to skip the Christmas photos...I know we're all over it, but it's purely for my diary!)

We had a visit from Grandma and took her to the Manchester Christmas Markets. It was a beautiful evening but SO busy we literally couldn't see anything.
The Town Hall was lit up and changed colours - mesmerising
Over the past few years Christmas has officially begun around here with our 'staff night out' (just me and Cleggy)
Followed by snowballs with our ace friends Jane and Rob.
I have a lovely photo of the four of us but I know Jane would groan if I shared it :(
We decorate fairly late - 
otherwise I get bored before the main event!

We I decided that we absolutely didn't need anything new this year on the decoration front. I made lots of crochet snowflakes and they made it all feel a bit new.
The ones on the branch had glitter sprinkled on them before blocking - they twinkled in the light.

 A lowlight of the festive period was my dropping a glass of hot mulled wine on the hall carpet...
I also made a new door wreath (inspired by Julia Crossland)
(it's still there!!)
Christmas was full of all our favourite things - 
family, food and games.
the boxing day ham - best ever!
made by Mabel and Wilf's Grandad - it was delicious
We played a week long game of 'peg of shame' 
We first played at Cuckoo's house last summer - you had to peg someone without them knowing. If you discovered the peg on your person you had to peg someone else. Nelly was pegged more than most, and Granny decided she wasn't playing after a couple of days as it was making her nervous!!
 Extra kudos was given for a photo!!
We sent this photo to Cleggy when he was out at the shops!!
I didn't make many presents this year - but had to make something to display these wonderful vintage printers blocks 
(from one of my new favourite shops Otto Retro)
and received some lovely hand made gifts in return - including this one from Cuckoo - a beautiful pin cushion
You may remember while we were celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary in Venice in the summer I purchased, what can only be described as tacky tourist lace. 
I assured Cleggy I would make something nice with them - 
here's what I offered up!
The heart is a little bit of glass from Burano
Of course Cleggy trumped everything with his marvelously 'wrapped' gift - a chest of delights!
 The drawers were full of clues to the presents - I had to turn the french music box and search for the treasures of the lady fish (of course!)

One of the clues was this little knitting bag - and was knitting lessons with French Knots Jo!! 
Can't wait to get started - bit worried about a new obsession though....
Beautiful set of bamboo needles to get started....
The last treasure was special - a stunning aqua marine ring made by Belinda @ Wildacre.
It is stunning - I can't stop staring at it.
 Speaking of rings - on Boxing Day I was also reunited with my engagement ring - which had been lost for about 17 years!! It's a long story - but turned up in a little box of heirloom jewels that Granny brought up to show us. She had no idea that it was in there - or how it got there. 

I couldn't stop smiling when I saw it - my cheeks were aching by the end of the day!!
Just before New Year is Alfie's birthday - this year he turned 14. 
I usually have a little photo montage - but he wasn't in the mood for photos! 
He chose to go to the Red Hot World Buffet in Manchester - all you can eat from all over the world. And eat they did!
This is my selfie for that day! 
We are doing a big family project in 2014 where we all promised to take a selfie each and every day for a year 
(it started on 1st December 2013 so we could make a family montage for Christmas this year)

They are harder than I thought man! Anyway -I'm getting the hang of it - and haven't forgotten one yet - here's my first collection
2014 is going to be an exciting one for us - we have a couple of big adventures planned.
The first is a mere 18 sleeps away and is a trip here:
I am beyond excited. If anyone has been and has tips/ideas then  share! We start in Kota Kinabalu then move on to Brunei, and finally Kuala Belait (where Cleggy is working).
I'm looking forward to writing a big fat Borneo post 
in a few weeks time.

Ahhh, I feel so much better for getting that post done - I umm and aaah about stopping blogging - but apart from missing the sense of community I know I'd regret not having this diary of our lives.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2014.
fee x